Thursday, May 20, 2010

Literature & Landscape of the Horse Retreat

A week from today I'll be grabbing my cowboy hat and boots (and my little horse buddy Rio) and headin' west to attend Page Lambert's writers' retreat on a guest ranch near Laramie, Wyoming.  For the past 21 years I've lived in the suburbs of Minneapolis, surrounded by strip malls and giant box-retailers, working either FT or PT, raising a blended family of six kids.  Ten years ago I decided it was time to pursue my lifelong dream--writing--and stayed up late nights to make it happen.  While writing both Hidden Heritage...the Story of Paul LaRoche and Seeds of Salton, I had many opportunities to travel to Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas to do research . . . and found myself in love with The West. 

When I won the residency at the Devils Tower in 2008, the week I spent at the park took me to a 'place' far beyond my expectations.  Living/walking/breathing amid the whispering Ponderosa pines, the red sandstone buttes that shimmer in the afternoon sun, golden meadows filled with Western Wheatgrass, the winding Belle Fourche River--with time to write--made it a week I treasure more than almost any other.

I remember one afternoon in particular.  I was on the Joyner Ridge Trail sitting with my back against the bark of a pine tree, the sun on my face, looking at the valley below, mesmerized by the view, amazed even by the grasses.  Sitting there, journaling my thoughts, I was overwhelmed by the sense I belonged there, yet not understanding why the feeling was so strong. 

This trip is neither a conference nor for research . . . the retreat is simply a gift to myself.  This time I want to open my heart and mind and embrace all that the ranch and the retreat have to offer.  I hope to learn more about horses, how to ride and trust a horse, to feel like I belong in the saddle.  And in doing so, I hope to discover more of me.  More of who I am and the woman God has called me to be.  I know He's called me to write, but now I'm asking what if there's something more, something deeper, some thing undiscovered . . . waiting to surface given the right circumstances, timing, setting. 

Onward . . . better yet, westward I go. 

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